Recorded at Sony Studios, New York, New York on April 9 & 10, 1998.
Chris Potter Quartet: Chris Potter (tenor & soprano saxophones, bass clarinet, piano);
Kurt Rosenwinkel (guitar);
Scott Colley (bass);
Billy Drummond (drums).
Additional personnel: Joe Lovano (tenor saxophone).
3. Long Walk, Short Pier
4. Act III, Scene I
6. This Will Be
7. Almost Home
8. Modeen's Mood
9. Wake Up
Link for Listen to sample
In the tradition of Coltrane, Rollins, Shorter and McLean, Chris Potter is a clearly identifiable voice on an instrument that is as commonplace in jazz as the piano. This saxophonist's powerful energy is in high gear on VERTIGO, an album of unbridled enthusiasm as well as maturity and assuredness. His choice of sidemen for this project--Kurt Rosenwinkel (guitar), Scott Colley (bass) and Billy Drummond (drums)--is evidence enough that Potter's vision as a leader is first rate. He is also joined by woodwind colleague Joe Lovano on three tracks, for a display of modern saxophone artistry.
As a composer, Potter is extremely imaginative. His penchant for angular melodies and shifting foundations of rhythm is exhibited in the opening "Shiva" and the mysterious title track. Potter and his men display impeccable prowess and free creativity on such rousing undertakings as "Long Walk, Short Pier" and the bop-ish "This Will Be," both with Lovano. As a change of pace, "Almost Home" lends a peaceful bossa/ballad feel to the set. Finally, after Lovano returns for the very expressive "Modeen's Mood," Potter leaves us with a rare turn on soprano for the delightful "Wake Up."
Those familiar with Chris Potter, either from his work in Paul Motian's group, in Dave Douglas's quartet, or recently in Dave Holland's Quintet can probably guess what I'm going to say. This album follows closely upon the previous album, _Unspoken_, which featured an all-star lineup and the same instrumentation, guitar, bass, drums, and saxophone. These players, including Kurt Rosenwinkel on guitar, Scott Colley on bass, Billy Drummond on drums and Joe Lovano guesting on three songs, while less renowned, are perfectly suited to Potter's music. I believe this was his working band at the time and it shows--they seem to share an almost intuitive feel for his music. They understand the paradox of his playing, now in now out, now melodic now exploring alternate harmonies. The title track is emblematic of his music as a whole, shifting, daring, inventive. In a word, thrilling. The album is decidedly modern in its sensibilities, which might turn some listeners off, particularly those who want jazz they can relax to. However, no matter what your tastes, you'd find a remarkable player (who keeps getting better) in a format that suits him with players near the top of their game. I put it alongside Dave Holland's _Points of View_ for best album of 1998 and recommend it strongly to anyone interested in modern jazz and all its complexities and paradoxes.